Updates from August, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:51 on 2017/08/05 Permalink | Reply  

    A study by a McGill urban studies prof looked at the influence of Airbnb on the city’s rental stock and the news is not great for regular tenants.

    • Ian 22:46 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      No surprises there. Also worth noting, a lot of people are buying with the understanding they can AirBnB so are willing to pay way over assessed values because they know it’s a good location to make killer cash in the festival season off tourists. Effectively it’s a trifecta in Mile End – Jewish neighbourhoods need to live together, and are willing to pay more. French and Americans are buying property to be close to Ubisoft. Speculators are buying properties to be able to make mad dosh on AirBnB. None of them are interested in renting; every time a rental property goes up for sale it’s basically no longer a rental property. I am seeing 4.5s going for $1400/m minimum now, and some over 2k. This in a neighbourhood where 3 years ago $1500 was toward the high end for a 3 bed. Properties are selling double over valuation; I’ve seen 2 bed condos in a co-prop triplex selling for 500k. It’s crazy.

    • DeWolf 01:21 on 2017/08/06 Permalink

      I’ve been looking at apartment listings for awhile to get a sense of the market, since I’ll be renting a place next spring. It’s all over the place. There are still good deals out there, even in Mile End, but there are also run-of-the-mill 4 1/2s going for over $2,000. I’ve used Airbnb as a traveller plenty of times because it is so much better than the alternatives, but I’m having serious second thoughts about using it from now on. Of course, I don’t think it’s Airbnb’s fault – it’s a failure of governments to effectively regulate, and a failure of the hotel industry to serve a market of people who don’t want to stay in anonymous downtown boxes.

    • DavidH 16:04 on 2017/08/06 Permalink

      One problem with the article is that it takes a study done on cities in California and then extrapolates that the exact same numbers will apply in Montreal. This is ridiculous. The demographics, the geography, the job market, the regulations, etc. are completely different. There’s no way Montreal and L.A. behave the exact same way. What the numbers from California show is that it has SOME impact. That 138$/month figure is nothing to take seriously. Not even sure the average rent has gone up 138$ in total since Airbnb has started operating here. And even then, they are saying the part of the increase due to Airbnb would be 138$, you need to add inflation, speculation, the increase in municipal evaluation and tax rates, etc.

    • Blork 17:31 on 2017/08/06 Permalink

      DavidH (and others), that $138 figure is PER YEAR.

      I’m not a fan of what Airbnb is doing to the rental market, and more particularly what the abundance of Airbnb units is doing to neighbourhoods, although I think it’s more accurate to say “what Airbnb users” are doing. But that article seems very shaky and seems to be trying to make a big deal over a $138/year average rent increase.

      It is interesting to see that Montreal apparently has the largest number of downtown Airbnb units of all cities in North America (if I’m reading that right). But that’s not Airbnb’s fault. Remember: Airbnb doesn’t reach out and buy units or even solicit owners to become members; it is 100% owners reaching out to join Airbnb.

      It seems to me like this is all just a matter of too much of something that’s a real blessing in small doses. But when too many people are renting out their apartments, and too many people are filling those slots, you end up with *too many people,* and given that a proportion of humanity is composed of douchebags, idiots, and generally stupid and/or ignorant people, the more people you get using Airbnb the more of *those* kinds of people you get.

      This includes:

      People who buy condos only as an investment and choose to rent them on Airbnb instead of to regular tenants.

      Partying travellers who see every space behind a door they’ve paid for as their own personal boom box and garbage heap.

      The above two classes of people go together far too well unfortunately.

      I long for the early days of Airbnb when it was just people renting out spare rooms, or a guest house on their property, or even their own full apartment on an occasional basis during which time they’d just go stay with their girlfriend or whatever. Those people had a vested interest in only allowing quiet, respectful, and vetted guests to use their place. *sigh*

    • DavidH 18:17 on 2017/08/06 Permalink

      Blork, indeed it is per year. That puts it back within the range of the possible. I still don’t buy the methodology. A real study on its impact in Montreal remains to be done.

      I agree with the rest of your comments as well. Airbnb is a bag of mixed blessings. I know people who have a downtown apartment because they can rent one of their rooms on airbnb. If it didn’t exist they’d have to settle for a place further away. If all people in that type of situation moved away from downtown or the Plateau, it’s a new pressure on a different set of apartments. There are both pluses and minuses.

      We often hear people saying housing should be subsidized by governments. The people living in the apartments they put up on airbnb are actually getting financial help and it costs nothing in taxpayers money (not to mention the useful service they provide). We rarely see people trying to figure out the impact of those effects of airbnb (other than the company spokespeople). That said, I’m sure that impact is diminishing as ‘professional’ airbnb-ers are growing.

    • Ephraim 20:11 on 2017/08/06 Permalink

      The minute these are taxed properly, it will be interesting to see how many will still exist. Of course, the day they receive a bill for 7 years of estimated back taxes, plus hotel tax, GST and QST, we will see this whole tax evasion scheme falter.

      The government is just being too nice at the moment with warning people…. Revenu Quebec won’t be so interested in warning people, at $2500/$5000 per day minimum fines.

    • Ian 17:17 on 2017/08/07 Permalink

      I know in some other cities (LA and NYC spring too mind) AirBnB is mostly property managers looking to make better money than they would from regular tenants, especially during summer break in areas that are normally rented to students. I assume that goes on in the McGill Ghetto (or Milton Park if you prefer) but does anyone know the prevalence of property management groups in Montreal’s AirBnB scene? I only ask because I assume if these outfits get nailed for anything they would simply declare bankruptcy and move on, which might lead to some flooding of the housing market in certain areas.

  • Kate 10:10 on 2017/08/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The invoice for Formula E continues to grow as the city appends the bill for using its own workers and equipment to enable the race to take place in eastern Ville-Marie, plus the cost of having police and firefighters on hand – but not including the expense to the STM of the mayor’s lagniappe of a weekend’s free public transit, which some are estimating at $1.1 million*. The overall public investment in this year’s race is now at $24 million and I don’t expect it will end there.

    Let’s remember this when it comes to Denis Coderre promising us that a new baseball team wouldn’t use any public money.

    Let’s remember this in November.

    *ant@n, you have more transit figures at your fingertips than anyone I know. Does a loss of $1.1M for a single weekend’s fare intake make sense?

    • ste.ph 12:26 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      Roughly: STM operating budget gets 625 million$ in client revenue (of a 1.4 billion$ budget), that’s about 2 million $ per day average. Two days, is 4 million, and they’re claiming it cost hem 1.1million? 27% are users were without monthly passes? On a tourist weekend. I call BS. I suspect on a week day that percentage is lower, and on a weekend its’ MUCH higher. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 60% of users were non monthly cam users that rode for free on weekends (weekdays it’s probably lower).

      I’ll believe them when they announce that they lost 4million$.

      & who paid for Kate Upton? (or was that in the F-E operating advertising budget?). Sheesh.

    • ant6n 12:46 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      I could try to crunch some numbers..

    • DavidH 14:57 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      Maybe the STM cut some costs? There’s overtime all summer long for STM workers (parts of the staff is on vacation) so less worker would save quite a bit. If it’s free, you don’t really need tellers. You also need less security outside of crowded hours if there’s no verification of payment to be done.

    • Kate 16:07 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      Upside: it was summer, in the middle of the construction holiday, so some percentage of the regular population would’ve been out of town. And it was the weekend, so that leaves out typical rush hour travel (but then a lot of those folks would already have paid for passes anyway – I got no kick from the free transit, it just meant I was habitually taking my pass out for nothing).

      Downside: tourism numbers have been up, so people who would otherwise have been paying for tickets or weekend passes didn’t have to.

      DavidH: I was out and about a bit last weekend. The STM coudn’t save money by laying people off for the weekend. Even if they’re not collecting fares, the bus driver’s still driving, and metro stations still need to be staffed, booth people have to give directions. The metro system was busy, so I don’t think they could tell some of the security to take the day off.

    • ant6n 16:18 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      I feel it’s more likely they had some extra overtime to deal with with extra crowds, cuz it was free and hard to drive downtown.

    • steph 17:41 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      Last Saturday around 22:40, coming back from fireworks, was the busiest I’ve EVER seen the metro. Going westward from Papineau, metro riders usually thin out by Lionel-Groulx and there’s enough room for everyone to sit at that point. Last week there was easily the same amount of people standing as their were sitting. I have a Maestro pass so I usually guest someone for a free ride, but this time I took along two other people who took advantage of the free ride. We’ll see how busy it is tonight with the additional Osheaga crowd.

    • DavidH 21:25 on 2017/08/05 Permalink

      Kate, I’m not talking about lay-offs or giving people time off. What I mean is that all summer long a lot positions are filled by booking people in overtime at double pay. These are holes left in the regular roster by people going on scheduled vacation. They probably did not feel the need to fill all of them that week-end.

      For example, the agents making the money run, surely they did not carry empty money bags around. Same for the ticket checking blockade they sometime schedule at stations staircases, those need three duos to do each. When you don’t have to do them you can cover the system with much fewer agents. A lot of booths are regularly left empty in the summer as well when they can’t bother to find staff. Place des Arts and Champ de Mars have a sign telling folks to go to the other booth for informations almost all summer long. These are prime tourist spots and the STM doesn’t mind. According to management, with the ticket selling machine, booths don’t actually need to be staffed. I doubt they would have a different approach when the sudden affluence is caused by Coderre’s seemingly last-minute decision. There’s no clean-up crew either on the week-end, only on weekday night shifts (even though it would be badly needed for the downtown part). Bus schedules did not switch from the bare-bone week-end schedule to weekday one either.

      If you’re going to offer free transit days, summer week-ends are clearly the cheapest days to do so. How much of that explains those numbers I don’t know though. It does seem doctored a little bit.

    • Ephraim 15:53 on 2017/08/06 Permalink

      A free weekend doesn’t affect those who pay for monthly or weekly. Therefore the city still made the 2/31st or 1/15th it normally makes from those passes. The losses would be more akin to weekend passes, individual trips and tourist passes.

  • Kate 09:50 on 2017/08/05 Permalink | Reply  

    A man was stabbed early on Saturday outside a bar on Fleury. No arrests.

  • Kate 09:47 on 2017/08/05 Permalink | Reply  

    The EMSB is opening a vacant school building in Villeray as an additional shelter for refugees pouring across the U.S. border. The CBC piece lists other places around town where people are being temporarily housed.

    An immigration lawyer says not all the asylum seekers may be allowed to stay. CBC notes that misleading social media postings have falsely been suggesting Canada accepts everyone.

    Macleans has a good piece pointing out how an uncertain life in Canada can be more desirable for many folks, while their files grind slowly through the government system, than the growing hostility in the United States, or certain poverty back home. But simple poverty, without other dangers, is not sufficient to qualify someone as a refugee in Canada.

    Here’s an article about why Montreal is not a sanctuary city despite the claims of Mayor Coderre.

  • Kate 09:38 on 2017/08/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Sue Montgomery will be running for Projet for the mayoralty of Côte-des-Neiges–NDG.

  • Kate 09:17 on 2017/08/05 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre’s notorious granite stumps have begun appearing around Mount Royal. Radio‑Canada even finds an architectural critic who likes the stumps.

    There’s also a picture of something described as a 3D map of Mount Royal which looks like a child’s mud pie.

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